Apec looks to pact to revive growth

Apec looks to pact to revive growth

Mr Jurin gives a keynote address at the symposium for FTAAP, the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Mr Jurin gives a keynote address at the symposium for FTAAP, the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers have high hopes for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), believing that the long-delayed pact can help revitalise their economies battered by the pandemic.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, who chaired the Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade's meeting in Bangkok on Thursday, said the FTAAP tops the agenda for the four-day meeting as Apec members want to use the pact to help revive their economies following the pandemic.

Apec aims to conclude the talks on FTAAP, which would be the world's biggest free trade agreement, by 2040, he said.

FTAAP involves the 21 Pacific Rim nations that are part of Apec, a forum created in 1989 to promote free trade in Asia-Pacific.

FTAAP first appeared in the joint statement of Apec trade ministers in 2008.

It was again a topic in November 2021 within Apec's Putrajaya Vision 2040 implementation plan.

The FTAAP encompasses areas that are home to 2.9 billion people, accounting for 38% of the global population.

Combined GDP is worth US$52 trillion, or 1,768 trillion baht, which is equivalent to 62% of the world's GDP.

The trade value from the 21 country members of the bloc is worth $18 trillion, or 608 trillion baht, representing 70% of global trade.

According to Mr Jurin, Apec members will directly benefit from zero import tax rates and friendly trade and investment regulations, as well as higher standards both in terms of products and services.

"It is estimated the trade volume among the 21 economic areas will increase by about 200-400% in 2040 from now," he said.

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